Now more than ever I’m clinging to the family traditions we can maintain to find comfort in the familiar and to remember fond family memories from years passed. I think this is in part due to the crazy 2020 year and just a natural feeling as you get older.
I remember the feelings of magic and warmth that can only come from family during the Christmas season. I recall visits with grandparents, trips to the Opryland Hotel to view their magnificent Christmas displays, road trips to visit extended family that made Christmas feel like it lasted a week, giving gifts to family, receiving that one gift you really wanted, good food, the works.
I want my kids to feel the same way about family and the holidays when they are my age, and I think that comes – in part – from traditions. And, since I’m a list maker, I have a printable to help me!
I like making lists of activities for us to do as a family each season, like I showed here with our Fall Bucket List Printable. I print them out to display on our family command center. I just add the printable to an 8.5×11″ frame with command strips on the back and stick it to the wall, easy peasy. Mr. 7 year old loves reading the list and adding checkmarks next to the activities we’ve completed already.
This weekend I printed off our list of Christmas season traditions, tweaked a bit to be COVID friendly. So although we won’t be seeing Santa in person this year, we can still write him a letter.
I got really peeved sometime in early September when I received an email from Pinterest saying it was time to inspire the spirit of Halloween. My first thought? I’m am barely surviving virtual back to school with two young children and, you know, try to keep my job, feed everyone ALL THE TIME, and maintain some minimal level of sanity. I don’t have time to put even MORE on my plate, especially with Halloween feeling like it was months away.
But, with a bit of time, my perspective shifted…a bit. I adopted the stance we parents so often take. Yes, I’m tired. However, I’m excited to bring my children joy and a bit of normalcy to their lives right now. I will look back at this time with fondness for the memories we’ve created together, and these memories so often don’t happen if momma doesn’t plan something. So, we got into the spirit of Halloween.
We picked up a new activity this year that’s pandemic friendly and may become a new annual tradition. At the suggestion of a friend, I created a Halloween scavenger hunt and sent the neighborhood kids out in small teams to find all of the items around the neighborhood.
We actually turned it into a game and timed the teams to see who could find the most items in the least amount of time. The winners earned a price. They were even sent out with a phone to take pictures to prove they found everything, which was such a novelty for my boys. I think just being allowed to carry around a phone was half the fun!
So, if you’re looking for a fun and easy way to celebrate Halloween this year, I recommend a scavenger hunt. You can download the hunt I created or you can Google for bunch of other options.
I’m certainly the type of person who benefits mentally from creating structure in uncertain times. I find the act of organizing my spaces, schedule, money, what-have-you makes me feel like I have more control of a situation than I actually do. It sets me up to adopt good habits and routines.
I’m the type of person who needs to create a list or I can’t stop thinking about whatever it is that’s on my mind. If I start my work day just responding to whatever is in front of me…emails, IMs, Slack chats, etc., then I get to lunch not having anything to show for my time and feeling panicked that I’m behind, without really knowing what I’m behind on exactly. Cue instant stress.
I’m also the type of person who absolutely LOVES crossing things off my to do list. I get great joy in adding that checkmark or crossing something off the list with a swipe of a pen. That’s why I’ve found that having a paper and pen to do list and tracker is immensely helpful for me.
Today I’ll share the weekly task list and daily planner pages that I’ve started using. I first searched online for planner books and printable pages that others offered, and I didn’t find anything that I loved. After trying a few free printable pages, I decided to create my own. I share them here today in case they are helpful for you as well. They are Word files so you can customize them to your needs.
Weekly Task List
This weekly task list purposefully has me focuses on no more than three major tasks or activities per week. I keep it short so I stay focused, and I make sure it covers the items that MUST get done this week without fail.
Then I list all of my projects and the activities associated with each. For me, I need to track my to dos, people I need to follow-up with because they don’t reliably get back to me (grr!!), and meetings I need to prepare for (whether that’s research I need to do, agendas to prep, or folks I need to connect with in advance). Luckily, I only have three major work projects right now, and then I use the fourth section to tracker personal / household activities.
Typically, I take less than 30 minutes every Friday afternoon to create my weekly list, which I do while reviewing last week’s list, looking ahead to the next week’s electronic calendar, and reviewing project schedules.
I’ve been using some version of a weekly tracker for a while, and then I’d start each morning listing on a sticky note the 3-5 things I want to accomplish for the day. That worked just fine, but I wanted to try something a bit more structured.
In this daily planner page, I list the three must dos I have to accomplish for the day. These are more focused than the three major focuses listed on the weekly task list. The weekly task list may include the need to submit X deliverable; whereas, the daily task list may say to review section 1 of X deliverable.
I then list any major activities coming up for the day in the calendar section. I’m NOT spending time repeating what’s in my electronic calendar really. I’m just painting the landscape for the day and making sure I’m aware of what’s coming up. You could also list meals you’re planning in this section, but that’s not something I’m tracking.
Then, there’s a section to include any nice-to-have to dos that I’ll get to if I have time available. Under this list is a spot to note any exercise accomplished for the day and my water intake. The notes section at the bottom is to capture any quick items I may need to record based on meetings I’m in, like future to do items or phone numbers.
As a planner, I like to be prepared for possible emergencies. I’m that person who packs medicines for kids when we take trips and has an emergency kit stashed in the house in case we need it.
One of the ways I prepare is by having a one-page print out of my medical information in my wallet in case I need it. I can’t tell you how handy it’s been to have at doctor visits to either help fill out paperwork or to give to the doctor for reference. My husband knows it is there as well, so he has all of my information available if I’m incapacitated.
I made some updates to the file this weekend. Now I’m inspired to make one up for both of the kids too!
In an effort to help others avoid reinventing the wheel, feel free to download an editable Word template of the medical information printable below.
Personal Information: List what you want medical professionals to see right away and they most frequently ask for: blood type, allergies, contact information, etc.
Medication and Purpose: List the medication taken regularly, what it’s used for, and how often/what dosage you take.
Personal Medical History: Here I include dates and my age when I had various medical procedures, but I could see others listing different relevant information here about illnesses or diseases.
Vaccinations and Tests: Here are the dates and results of various tests run and vaccinations received. In the printable template provided, I left in the vaccinations and tests in my file, but there is space to add others.
Of course, the glory of having a Word document printable is that you can edit the form as you see fit. This is a starting point to think about what information you think is important to caption for you, your loved ones, and your doctors. If you adopt this tool, I encourage you to customize it to fit your needs.